BUSINESS IN BRIEF 27/8

Int’l exhibition on renewable energy and energy saving

Hundreds of enterprises and leading Asian and European experts will take part in an international exhibition on renewable energy and energy saving in Vietnam to be held in November in Ho Chi Minh City.

Various energy saving products and devices will be on display at the exhibition. 

A forum on energy and sustainable development in Vietnam will update the participants on trends in the development of Vietnam’s energy market.

Nguyen Van Ly, deputy general director of Ho Chi Minh City Power Corporation, said, “We hope that the exhibition will help to raise people’s awareness and suggest practical courses of action to save energy in households and businesses.

The event is also an opportunity for enterprises to exchange, and transfer technology and develop energy-saving products”.

The international exhibition on renewable energy and energy saving in Vietnam will coincide with the international exhibition on water and waste water treatment in the country.

ASEAN countries stifle free labor market

Labor flow within the region is still subject to domestic rules in each member country.

The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), a framework for the region’s economic integration, focuses on a free labor market that allows skilled professionals to work anywhere they like across the region, which has a population of 620 million people.

The free labor market, which began to take shape in 2015, has freed up eight professions, including medicine, dentistry, nursing, engineering, architecture, natural resources and geographical exploration, accounting and tourism, allowing professionals in these areas to move between countries in the region to work.

ASEAN has about 300 million people of a working age, 70% of whom are from Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

Despite this vision of freer movement of labor, many ASEAN countries still impose requirements on companies that want to recruit foreigners in an attempt to protect their domestic labor forces from tough competition.

Experts said most member countries have built market barriers by tightening tax rules and immigration laws.

For instance, when employees apply for a work permit, they are required to have a sponsor who can confirm their employment offer. For employers, they have to prove that they can’t find qualified locals for the position.

“Even if you are in Malaysia for a day, you still have to apply for a work permit unless you can prove that you are in the country for a seminar or conference,” said Ang Weina, a tax advisor for Deloitte in Malaysia.

Foreigners also face higher tax rates than their local counterparts.

“During the first six months I worked in Malaysia, I had to pay up to 28% in income tax. After the first six months, if I had stayed there long enough, i.e. less than 14 days out of the country, the tax rate dropped to 11% based on my salary,” said Nguyen Hong Duc, a white collar worker in Malaysia.

About 60% of revenue from personal income tax that Ho Chi Minh City collects comes from foreign workers, said Tran Thi Le Nga, the city’s senior tax official, adding that foreigners working in Vietnam are subject to income tax rates ranging from 5% to 35% based on their salaries, while the rates for Vietnamese range from 5% to 30%.

ASEAN governments not only increase income tax rates levied on non-resident workers, they also tighten tax rules by imposing heavy fines for tax fraud.

Vietnam’s industry targets global production chains

A future national industry policy should work to sustain the national economy’s self-reliance and enable sectors’ effective participation in global production and distribution chains, heard a seminar in Hanoi on August 28.

The industrial sectors should be oriented towards modernity, characterised by scientific-technological advances, and have high locally-made content, experts said.

The event looked into the national industrial policy and sought changes to it in the context of globalisation and international economic integration.

With a target to become an industrialised country, the Political Bureau has assigned the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission to study a project on National Industry Policy.

Head of the Party Central Committee’s Economic Commission Nguyen Van Binh shared other experts’ view that attention should be paid to sectors that are competitive and strategic to rapid and sustainable development.

The industrial strategy set for 2025 with a vision towards 2035 must mesh with the new situation and follow rules of a market economy, the participants said.

They stressed the need to ensure sustainable development, reform administrative procedures, make the best use of domestic resources, and lure foreign resources to serve the cause of national industrialisation and modernisation.

A report presented at the event revealed that Vietnam has made big strides over the past 30 years of reform, holding an improved position in the world arena.

The Party has consistently pursued the goal of becoming an industrialised nation and changed implementation methods through different periods of time, with importance placed on quality and competitiveness at present, the report said.

Calling for efforts to carry forward the reform achievements, Binh noted that apart from developing the policy, the execution of the policy is also important.

Vietnam-Myanmar economic ties remain untapped

Partnerships in economics, trade and investment between Vietnam and Myanmar have yet to meet expectations, participants said at a discussion on bilateral ties in Hanoi on August 25. 

Among those attending the function were representatives of the Vietnam-Myanmar Friendship Association, the Myanmar Embassy to Vietnam, and the Party Central Committee’s Commission for External Relations. 

Nguyen Trong Kien, deputy head of the Party commission’s department for cultural diplomacy, said the two countries set up diplomatic relations in 1947 and upgraded their ties from the Consul General level to the Ambassadorial level in May 1975. 

Since then, they have regularly organised diplomatic activities to consolidate their amity. They have also continually coordinated and supported each other at multilateral forums, he noted, elaborating that while Vietnam advocated Myanmar joining in ASEAN and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Myanmar supported Vietnam’s participation in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the candidacy for the non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council. 

The two countries’ economic cooperation has been flourishing in recent years. They have held trade fairs in the respective countries annually to promote goods and investment. A meeting of the joint sub-committee on trade has been maintained with the latest – the eighth meeting – taking place in Myanmar in March 2015. 

Kien noted that Vietnam is now the ninth biggest trade partner of Myanmar with bilateral trade at 657 million USD. With a total investment capital of 693 million USD, it ranks 10 th among foreign investors there. 

Some of Vietnam’s major projects in Myanmar include the Hoang Anh Gia Lai complex in Yangon and the Myanmar branch of the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV). Vietnam’s telecommunication group Viettel is also preparing to form a joint venture with the local group YPT, he added. 

However, participants admitted Vietnamese businesses are weak in financial capacity and haven’t gained a firm foothold in Myanmar. Meanwhile, complicated administrative procedures in Myanmar have hampered Vietnamese firms’ development there. 

Many attendees agreed that the two sides boast huge potential for investment and trade cooperation in multiple spheres such as agriculture, industrial trees, automobile manufacturing, and construction. Among them, aviation, banking, telecommunications, oil and gas, and mineral should be prioritised in the time ahead. 

Myanmar Chargé d’affaires Thaw tar Aung highlighted the countries’ similarities such as struggling for independence in the past and being ASEAN members. 

Highly valuing Vietnam’s investment orientations in his homeland, the diplomat assured that Myanmar is ready to assist Vietnamese companies to seek investment opportunities and deal with investment-related administrative procedures.

Vietnam, Brunei forge trade links

The upcoming State visit to Brunei by President Tran Dai Quang from August 26-28 is meant to not only mark the bilateral partnership but also promote bilateral affiliation to such potential fields as trade, investment, tourism, education-training, agriculture, oil and gas, and seafood.

At the same time, it will help Vietnamese businesses study investment opportunities to make inroads into Brunei.

Brunei has become a potential and reliable trade partner and investor of Vietnam since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1992.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, two-way trade reached 17 million USD in the first six months of this year. Of which, Vietnam exported 8.4 million USD worth of goods to the market, mainly rice and seafood. The country spent 8.7 million USD chiefly importing chemicals.

The Vietnam Trade Office in Brunei said despite differences in area, population and culture, both countries share similar views on regional and international issues, creating a premise for the two sides to enhance cooperative ties.

Furthermore, as members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Vietnam and Brunei have actively and proactively got engaged in ASEAN cooperation fields such as defining the bloc’s future development orientations and outlining major policies.

This has helped strengthen solidarity among member states, and increase the role and position of ASEAN in the region and beyond.

Over the past few years, the two nations have witnessed high-level delegation exchanges such as the visit to Brunei by President Tran Duc Luong in 2001 and by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in 2007. Brunei King Hassanal Bolkiah visited Vietnam to attend ASEAN, ASEM and APEC conferences in 1998, 2004, and 2006.

The two countries have signed a double taxation avoidance agreement, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on sports and youths collaboration, and another on oil and gas cooperation, creating legal foundations for the bilateral partnership in the fields.

Vietnam and Brunei are expected to secure a cooperation agreement in cultivation and seafood farming soon.

Experts suggested Vietnamese firms build a proper marketing strategy to boost exports to the market.

Phu Tho – “golden” land for tourism development

With natural and cultural advantages, the northern province of Phu Tho is considered a “golden” land for tourism development. 

The locality is home to popular destinations such as the Hung Temple – a special national historical relic to worship the Hung Kings – the legendary founders of Vietnam; Au Co Mother Temple; and Tam Giang Pagoda. 

Attractive tourist sites also include the fairy land Ao Gioi – Suoi Tien; Thanh Thuy hot spring resort; and Ao Chau Swamp – dubbed Ha Long in Phu Tho town with numerous islands and romantic landscape. 

Furthermore, the province boasts world’s intangible cultural heritages of Hung Kings worshipping practice and “xoan” singing. 

All have created a Phu Tho with huge potential to develop various forms of tourism such as eco-tourism, cultural tourism, and spiritual tourism.

To fully tap its strengths, the province has built a long-term tourism development strategy to turn the industry into a spearhead economy. 

As planned, the tourism sector aims to draw nearly 5.8 trillion VND (261 million USD) in revenue by 2020. 

It moves to increase investment for tourism by 13 trillion VND (585 million USD) in 2030 to improve infrastructure, human resources, and tourism products and services, especially in four tourism centres in Viet Tri city, and Thanh Thuy, Tan Son and Ha Hoa districts. 

Authorities will apply particular policies to make it easier for businesses to invest in the field, while organising conferences and direct investment promotion programmes in the local key tourism centres, and increasing domestic and international connectivity. 

This means to create a safe, hospitable, friendly and attractive destination for tourists with a target of welcoming 7.2 million domestic visitors and 7,500 foreigners by 2020, and earning over 3.8 trillion VND (171 million USD) in revenue. 

The province is expected to welcome 25,000 overseas holidaymakers and 10.7 million at home by 2030. 

According to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Phu Tho greeted 7 million visitors each year in the 2011-2015 period, registering an annual growth of 4.3 percent. 

In 2015 alone, the tourism sector raked in over 2.17 trillion VND (97.65 million USD) in revenue, three times against 2010, and generated jobs for 11,600 workers.

Vietnam participates in INAGRITECH Indonesia 2016

Vietnamese companies are displaying their technological products at the INAGRITECH Indonesia 2016, an international event on agricultural technology which opened on August 25, for the first time. 

Le Phan Hai, Head of Business Division of the Vietnam Engine and Agricultural Machinery Corporation or VEAM, said that the company has exported agricultural machineries to Indonesia and is planning to export a truck line to the Southeast Asian country. 

Hai said the company is also introducing right hand steering wheel trucks that are suitable with the Indonesian market at the event. 

The Tran Hung Dao Mechanical Company joins the event. 

INAGRITECH Indonesia 2016, which runs until August 27, attracts 350 exhibitors from 12 countries in and outside the Southeast Asian region, displaying products such as rice, products from palm trees, sugarcane, corn, and forestry products and machinery used in agriculture.

Vietnam to develop energy for sustainable development

Vietnam need to carry out many solutions to supply enough energy for social-economic development as well as pursue a sustainable development in the long term, according to experts. 

At the Vietnam Energy Forum 2016: Challenges for Sustainable Development held in Hanoi on August 25, Le Tuan Phong, Deputy Head of the General Department of Energy, said Vietnam needs to improve the making of strategy strategies for energy industry development and energy planning. 

The country also needs to raise proportion of clean and renewable energy as well as promote solutions for efficient and effective electricity use, Phong said. 

Tang The Hung, Deputy Director of Planning and Master Plan of the General Department of Energy under the MoIT, said Vietnam set a strategy for renewable energy development by mobilising all resources and at a reasonable price. 

The country also will increase the rate of renewable energy under a set road map and reduce dependence on fossil energy to ensure energy security and mitigate climate change, protect environment and pursue sustainable social-economic development. 

According to goals set in the strategy all most of households will be connected with the national grid by 2020 and will be able to get access to modern, sustainable energy services at a reasonable price by 2030. 

The country targets to reduce 5 percent of greenhouse gas emission by 2000 and 45 percent by 2050, and the number of households using solar energy will be increased from 4.3 percent to 50 percent by 2050. 

According to Phong, the demand for electricity consumption in Vietnam increased 13.07 percent per year during 2006-2010 and 11 percent during 2011-2015.

Public-private partnership eases pressure on State budget

A seminar on strengthening public-private partnership (PPP) took place in Hanoi on August 25, attracting representatives from ministries, agencies and 100 businesspeople. 

Speaking at the event, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade and Chairwoman of the Vietnam Association of Woman Entrepreneurs (VAWE) Ho Thi Kim Thoa said PPP does not only strengthen resources but also eases pressure on paying for the government’s public services. 

She also spoke highly of the woman entrepreneurs’ role in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which currently account for 96 percent of the total. 

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has given businesses, especially SMEs and businesswomen, access to support in technology that helps lower cost and improve product quality. 

Nguyen Thanh Tra, a PPP expert from the Frontier law consulting firm admitted that businesswomen frequently meet difficulties in bidding and price pressure. 

Several law experts shared lessons learnt from the US, Zambia and India, success stories in attracting SMEs owned by women. 

Director of the Minh Khai commercial company Nguyen Bich Hoa called for holding more trade promotion campaigns and offering support to businesswomen as well as spreading the drives “Vietnamese prioritise Vietnamese goods” and “Proud of Vietnamese goods”.  

The seminar was co-hosted by the US Agency for International Development’s State Governance for Comprehensive Growth, the MoIT and the VAWE.

Road toll collection to be inspected

The Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam has proposed the transport ministry inspect fee collection at the toll station on Pháp Vân-Cầu Giẽ expressway, the southern gateway to Hà Nội, to prevent loss of fees.

The move was made following recent toll collection supervision at the station which found that total collection increased.

The supervision period was conducted over ten days, from July 10 to July 20.

Earlier this year, inspections supervised toll collection at the station following reports of alleged fraud committed by employees. They allegedly collected tolls from drivers at rates lower than those specified by the State without giving tickets to the drivers so that they could pocket the money.

The 10-day inspection discovered an increase of up to VNĐ700 million (US$31,400) each day in comparison with the amount collected before the supervision. 

However, a representative from the joint investor of the upgrade project on the Pháp Vân-Cầu Giẽ Expressway explained that the increase resulted from more vehicles using the expressway.

The station is managed by the Việt Nam Infrastructure Development and Finance Investment Joint Stock Company.

The Directorate for Roads of Việt Nam also proposed the transport ministry to inspect all toll collection tasks at the station from the first day of fee collection.

The fees will be collected for 17 years and three months, starting from October last year, after the upgrade of the Pháp Vân-Cầu Giẽ highway was completed on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis.

The upgrade in the first phase of the two-phase project, with total capital of more than VNĐ6.7 trillion ($315 million), includes a revamp of the current four-lane, 25m-wide road. The second phase, worth more than VNĐ4.7 trillion ($223 million), involves the expansion of the four-lane highway to a six-lane one, with a width of 33.5m.

It also asked the ministry to soon approve a master plan to increase supervision and transparency in toll collection in road projects managed by the ministry. The plan will focus on building fee collection and supervision software and complete related legal documents and regulations.

The ministry has required all investors of expressway projects to save data on the images of the number of vehicles going through toll stations for at least five years to serve inspection tasks when necessary.

HCM City to host K-Food Fair

The 2016 K-Food Fair will be held from September 8-11 in HCM City to promote Korean food and cuisine in the Vietnamese market.

The fair is organised by South Korea’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corporation.

The event will feature a business-to-business (B2B) programme that will take place at GEM centre in District 1 from September 8-9.

The B2B programme will include a workshop on the Vietnamese food market and business meetings.

Thirty South Korean food exporters and 60 importers from Việt Nam and other Asian countries will participate in the programme.

As part of the fair, a business-to-customer event will be held at September 23 Park downtown from September 10-11.

It will include a K-food exhibition, cooking demonstration of South Korean dishes, and music and dance performances of Vietnamese and South Korean artists. 

Exporters compare notes on risk

Exporters should carefully check the background of new customers and the terms before signing export contracts, a conference on risk management in international trade heard from bitter business executives.

Organised by the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City (Hawa) in HCM City on Wednesday, the conference was held soon after a major trade dispute broke out between Czech furniture distributor Global Home S.R.O. and many Vietnamese woodworking companies.

Đồng Nai-based furniture maker Gia Hân Ltd Co had been the first to accuse Global Home of not making payments.

Nguyễn Hữu Ngọc, the company’s director, said Gia Hân signed a contract with Global Home to export furniture in 2012.

As of July last year the Czech company had owed his company US$493,000.

It had also ordered another consignment of wooden products worth $280,000 but failed to take delivery. As a result, the items remain in stock, causing his company losses, he said.

His executives tried to meet Global Homes CEO Otto De Jager many times, but the latter refused, saying his company had not paid because of quality problems.

Gia Hân has since complained to the provincial Police.

Executives of many other companies like Việt-Mỹ Co and Hà Nội-based Cửu Long Furniture Company said they are in a similar plight as Gia Hân.

Nguyễn Thế Truyền of Thiên Thanh Law Office, who provided legal consultancy to Gia Hân, said after seeing its contract with Global Home, he realised that many provisions were inimical to Gia Hân, including the fact it was in English and based on British law and the international arbiter in case of a dispute was in Hong Kong.

Instituting arbitration proceedings in Hong Kong would cost Gia Hân a lot of time and money, he said.

Truyền said many Vietnamese businesses only pay attention to the pricing and payment terms and not other provisions.

Phạm Ngọc Hưng, deputy chairman of the HCM City Union of Business Associations, said a dearth of new contracts means many businesses are happy to get whatever they can and so mainly pay attention to delivery date and payment and not other conditions.

Việt Nam has the International Arbitration Centre attached to the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and businesses can choose it to resolve disputes.

Trần Quốc Mạnh, Hawa deputy chairman, said importers and exporters should have staff well versed in foreign trade.

They should consult lawyers if the contracts are large, he said, adding that they should pay close attention to dispute-related provisions.

Nguyễn Chiến Thắng, a former Hawa chairman, said firms need to carefully study information about new customers to ensure they do not deal with dubious companies.

Delegates agreed that business groups play a very important role in their industry and called for holding more meetings to share information or provide warnings to help their members avoid risks.

The Hawa office, where the meeting was going on, had a visitor at the same time: De Jager, who came to meet Huỳnh Văn Hạnh, another deputy Hawa chairman.

Hạnh said he had rejected Gia Hân’s charges and said it had been putting undue pressure on him, and furnished documents related to dispute with Gia Hân and other companies.

He had told the visitor that the association received complaints and documents from several Vietnamese companies though it does not have the power to resolve the disputes, he said.

De Jager promised to come again two weeks later to work with the association on the problem. 

VN, Austrian firms seek business ties

Vietnamese and Austrian enterprises attended a business-to-business platform in Austria on Tuesday to seek partners in the fields of clean energy, banking, telecommunications and garments, as well as food.

Representative of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Nguyen Hoang Thang, described this event as a good opportunity for Vietnamese enterprises to get up tot date information about the European Union market and then draw up business strategies to access the market more effectively.

Participants at the event said Austria would be a good gateway for Vietnamese businesses to penetrate the lucrative European Union market. Meanwhile, Viet Nam will help Austrian firms to enter potential markets in Southeast Asia.

In his speech, Georg Brunauer, CEO of Novapecc Co, which specialises in hi-tech industries, said his company planned to enter the Vietnamese market as soon as possible.

Currently, Austria ranks seventh among the 10 largest importers in the European Union of Vietnamese goods such as footwear, smart phones, electronics and garments, with a turnover of US$2.2 billion in 2015.

Viet Nam, meanwhile, is the largest trade partner of Austria in Southeast Asia. Austria’s total turnover from exports, including machinery, electronics, steel products and medicines, to Viet Nam hit $412 million in 2015.

The business exchange in Austria was organised as part of a Vietnamese business delegation’s trip led by the VCCI to the European Union from August 18 to 28. 

Viet Nam looks forward to EVFTA benefits

The European – Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) would promote the flow of high-quality investments from the EU into the country with commitments on goods and services, market access, the opening of Government procurement, investment environment and policy transparency.

This was heard at a seminar entitled “European Union-Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement: What’s in it for me?” held in the northern Hai Phong Port City to learn about what the trade pact entails.

The event, jointly held by EuroCham, Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Hai Phong branch, and Deep C Industrial Zone, attracted more than 80 representatives from companies in the city, Ha Noi and from EU countries’ embassies in Viet Nam.

The seminar therefore gave audiences an insight into changes in trading regulations, market access, regional implications and expectations from the European business community in the country.

EVFTA will come into force from 2018, connecting Viet Nam – one of ASEAN’s most dynamic manufacturing hubs with the EU – one of the world biggest markets with GDP of over US$18 trillion, accounting for 22 per cent of the world’s total GDP and a population of over 500 million people.

“EU is a common market with 28 member countries and 508 million people. Goods exported to the EU would have to meet strict standards,” said Miriam Garcia Ferrer, head of the trade section of the EU Delegation in Viet Nam.

“However, once the country meets the standards, goods will be able to access all EU member markets.”

Once the EVFTA agreement goes into effect, the EU will eliminate import duties on approximately 85.6 per cent of its tariffs lines for Vietnamese products. After seven years, 99 per cent of EU tariffs will be removed for Vietnamese products. Vietnamese textiles, footwear, and seafood products (except for canned tuna and fish balls) will incur no import duties within seven years after the agreement takes effect.

Viet Nam will eliminate 65 per cent of its import duties on EU items and has drawn up a roadmap to eliminate tariffs (over 99 per cent) over 10 years. The remaining export items will be offered tariff quotas with an import duty of zero per cent.

According to Claudio Dordi, EU-MUTRAP Project team leader, the EVFTA benefits are not only limited to tariffs, but it would also contribute to eliminating other trade barriers and benefit member countries.

The country in the past few years has been one of the most active players in negotiating and implementing free trade agreements, emphasising its privileged position and potential in becoming the world’s manufacturing and trading hub.

The EU is currently Viet Nam’s second biggest export market and Viet Nam is EU’s 11th biggest source of import. About 900 European enterprises have invested in the country, making it the destination in South East Asia with the largest European business community.

This relationship has huge potential for improvement under this important agreement. It can open for European exporters markets that have FTAs with ASEAN but not with the EU, such as China, India and Australia. Rules of origin are challenges but also opportunities. They give extra incentives to attract part suppliers into Viet Nam, improving the supply chain and localisation rates.

Realising this trend, Deep C Industrial Zones also organised a tour of the industrial zone to give investors an idea how it actually works on the field and the development pace of the city with the upcoming Lach Huyen Deep Sea Port. Opportunities and challenges are there for players who are poised to take them.

HCM City to host int’l exhibition on power engineering

The sixth International Power Engineering (Generation, Transmission and Distribution) Technology Exhibition, or Electric and Power Vietnam 2016, will return to HCM City from September 14 – 16, promising to create good opportunities for local and foreign companies to compare notes and seek business opportunities.

Electric and Power Vietnam 2016 features 250 exhibiting companies from 30 countries and territories, including seven international group pavilions of Germany, Korea, India, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey and China, with  well-known brands such as ABB, ASKA Power Generation, Datakom, Hanyoung Nux Vietnam, Honeywell International Inc., Intertek and Mekong Technology.

The exhibition will showcase a wide range of power engineering solutions and technologies – electrical control and distribution systems, backup power generation, manufacturing and process automation, SCADA, and transmission and distribution. Wireless security, instrumentation and control, power station hardware and equipment, renewable energy and other related equipment will also be on display.

Held alongside Electric and Power Vietnam is the Industrial Automation Vietnam, this is expected to provide a sourcing center for factory and process automation equipment and software needed to effectively run a modern factory and processing plant.

Many conferences and seminars will also be held on the sidelines of the exhibition, according to BT Tee, Deputy Chief, Viet Nam Representative Office, Singapore Exhibition Services, one of the event’s organizers.

Tee said: “The high rate of electric power demand, driven by Viet Nam’s industrial expansion is phenomenal, putting quite a lot of stress on the current power infrastructure in Viet Nam.”

He said there was an interesting imbalance between supply and demand where there is a higher supply capacity in the north of Việt Nam, but where power demand growth in southern Viet Nam is faster.

“As such, power transmission, distribution and grid efficiency becomes important with long transmission distances. This needs to be improved with new technology implementation, replacing less efficient legacy systems and technologies,” he told a press conference held in HCM City on August 24.

To be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre, the exhibition is expected to welcome 4,500 professional visitors.

First launched in 2006, Electric and Power Vietnam has gradually expanded to become Việt Nam’s most comprehensive electric power trade event, with a diverse community of exhibitors interested in the Vietnamese market.

Tokio Marine to strengthen insurance lineup in Vietnam: report

Japanese insurer Tokio Marine Holdings plans to add agricultural, auto and life insurance policies to its offerings in Vietnam, the Nikkei Asian Review reported on August 25.

The Tokyo-based company will develop the agricultural insurance, which is not yet available in Vietnam, with a Vietnamese university, the newspaper said.

It said the government plans to cooperate with the firm in order to stabilize farm operations. Based on data and analysis on the effects of rainfall levels and temperature on crop yields, policyholders will receive payments when certain conditions are met.

For autos, Tokio Marine reportedly will work with Vietnamese dealerships affiliated with Japanese automakers to sell insurance to drivers when they buy new cars.

The company will also develop life insurance with Bao Viet Holdings, a local giant whose sales network spans 90,000 locations in Vietnam.

In May Tokio Marine raised its stake in Bao Viet Tokio Marine Insurance Co., a non-life insurance joint venture with Bao Viet, by 2% to 51%.

“With the middle-class population growing in Vietnam, demand for insurance policies will accelerate,” Tokio Marine’s President Tsuyoshi Nagano said, as quoted by Nikkei. “We plan to make the Tokio Marine brand take root in Vietnam over the long term.”

Official figures showed Vietnam now has 17 insurance companies, five of which — AIA, Bao Viet, Dai-ichi, Manulife and Prudential — controlled more than 75% of the market.

The Association of Vietnamese Insurers forecast the local insurance market to grow 20% this year.

Amata to invest in Dong Nai urban area

The Amata Vietnam Joint Stock Company, owned by Thailand’s Amata Corporation, is planning to invest in the Amata City Long Thanh urban area project in southern Dong Nai province.

The project has total registered capital of over $309 million and is located on an area of 753 ha, according to a report from the Dong Nai Department of Planning and Investment (DPI).

Amata Vietnam preferred not to elaborate on the project when contacted by VET.

The Amata Corporation is the largest industrial park developer in Thailand and is listed on the country’s stock exchange. It is one of Vietnam’s leading foreign industrial infrastructure developers, with the under-construction Long Thanh High-Tech Industrial Park in Dong Nai.

The Long Thanh High-Tech Industrial Park has capital of over $282 million and is located on an area of 400 ha. Fields of focus are projects using high-technology and industrial support. The park is expected to employ 16,000-20,000 workers when put into official operation by 2020.

Amata Corporation also came together with Vietnam’s Tuan Chau Group in May 2015 to develop the Amata City Halong High-Tech Industrial Zone in the northern province of Quang Ninh.

Amata holds 70 per cent stake in the joint venture, which has investment of $1.6 billion.

Construction is expected to begin in September and be completed in 2018. The industrial zone will attract investment in the vicinity of $5 billion once opened and create some 300,000 jobs.

Dong Nai has an area of 6,000 sq km and a population of 2.8 million people and is next to Ho Chi Minh City.

It had 1,350 registered FDI projects with total investment capital of about $24 billion as at the end of 2015. As at the end of July it had received $25 billion worth of FDI in 1,422 FDI projects, according to the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI).

Six countries and territories had invested over $1 billion each in Dong Nai province as at August 2016: Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and the British Virgin Islands.

Taiwan has 283 projects with total registered capital of almost $5.13 billion, followed by South Korea with 312 projects and more than $5 billion in capital.

Vietnam invited to join Philippine rice tender

The National Food Authority (NFA) of the Philippines has invited Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia to take part in a tender for supply of 250,000 tons of rice later this month.

A source from the Vietnam Food Association (VFA) confirmed with the Daily on August 24 that Vietnam had got an invitation from the Philippines to join the bidding. This bidding would be held in line with the government-to-government (G2G) pacts between the Philippines and the three countries.

The rice tender will be opened on August 31, the source said. NFA requires the winner to deliver rice at its warehouse, the source said, adding information about the delivery time is not available.

Media last Friday cited a vice chairman of the Cambodia Rice Federation as saying that the country would not join the Philippines rice tender this year. If the news is true, Thailand and Vietnam would be the only two to bid.

Earlier, Pham Thanh Tho, deputy director of food business at Loc Troi Group, said the Philippines’ rice stocks are currently equivalent to 25 days of national consumption, compared to the minimum requirement of 30 days. So the country will have to import around 250,000 tons of rice in either September or October.

Last year, the Philippines imported at least 1.5 million tons of rice based on G2G contracts, including one million tons from Vietnam and 500,000 tons from Thailand.

VFA members exported 2.93 million tons of rice in the January-July period with a free-on-board (FOB) value of more than US$1.26 billion, down 370,000 tons and US$101 million year-on-year.

Soc Trang seeks to develop port

Nguyen Van The, Party chief of Soc Trang Province and former Deputy Minister of Transport, have proposed building a major port in the Mekong Delta province to ease pressure on Quan Chanh Bo Canal.

He made the proposal at a conference on mobilization of resources to develop traffic infrastructure and logistics systems in the delta held by the transport ministry and the Southwestern Steering Committee in Can Tho City on Monday.

Speaking to the Daily on the sidelines of the conference, The said big vessels can go through the canal to enter Cai Cui Port in Can Tho City where goods are exported to a number of regional nations.

He said that industrial production, coupled with the development of thermal power plants, will lead transport demand in the delta to surge. Therefore, Cai Cui Port alone cannot meet rising demand in the coming years.

Soc Trang, The said, wants to construct a port as the province lies in the south of the Hau River and cargo from An Giang, Can Tho, Soc Trang, Bac Lieu and Ca Mau can be transported along the river to Soc Trang for export. This will ease pressure on Quan Chanh Bo Canal and help spur economic growth. 

Experts calculated it would cost VND4 trillion (US$179.4 million) to build the port which can handle vessels of up to 100,000 DWT.

Vo Hung Dung, director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in Can Tho City, said the proposed port project is unfeasible. He told the Daily that the port’s construction was discussed years ago but the volume of goods in the Mekong Delta remains small.

He cited Can Tho International Airport as an example, saying it is expected to help connect the delta to Hanoi and other parts of the nation but has operated inefficiently. Dung said it would take tens of years to prove the efficiency of the airport. 

He said the State budget is tight now but the cost of the proposed port is high. Even there is a big port in the Mekong Delta, goods must be transported to HCMC for shipment to overseas markets, he noted.

Dung proposed further discussing the feasibility of the port project, saying that in the current economic conditions in the delta, an inland container depot (ICD) and a complete logistics system are deemed as more workable. 

Dung said that to fuel economic growth in the delta, logistics services are essential. He emphasized an ICD will help cut costs and time for enterprises in terms of customs declaration and quarantine.

Dung said ports in the Mekong Delta cannot replace Cai Mep-Thi Vai and Tan Cang ports in HCMC. He added shipping routes from Cai Mep-Thi Vai and Tan Cang to foreign countries took shape a long time ago, and exporters wanting to save time have transported goods to HCMC for export.

VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VET/VIR

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